Kona Diary - Week 4

Monday brought with it a new month and a new training phase – the taper.  After 2 heavy training weeks and with 13 days until race day, it was time to start to take my foot off the gas and start to absorb some of the work that’s been done.  After a long 10 hour sleep I woke up to do my only session of the day - a short and easy 20 minute swim from the pier.  By 9am my training for the day was done and I had the rest of the say to relax.  With so much free time I managed to catch up on some things I’d normally miss out on, namely reading.  I spent most of the day preparing my race wheels, gluing new tubulars on my ENVE 6.9’s.  The process was somewhat a labour of love, but after hours of work, they’re ready to roll and looking fantastic!

Although the general theme for the week was easier, there was still some hard work to be done.  I rode for 2 hours on Tuesday morning with 1h10’ at a solid effort.  Afterwards a few of us went out for a leisurely lunch, not in a rush to get on with the afternoon’s training.  I got my 7 mile run in before sunset, seeing quite a few pro athletes along the way.  I had a fun session planned for Wednesday morning – a 60 minute run with 35 minutes around threshold pace.  To avoid the heat (and crowds) I woke up early and was out the door at 6am.  With some good tunes on my ipod I enjoyed the run, averaging just under 6:00/mile for the interval.  After a quick breakfast, Scott and I walked to the pier to get ready for a swim.  It was quite a bit choppier than it has been which made the outward leg quite slow, even though I was pushing the pace.  Still, it’s good to practice in less than ideal conditions, as you’re never sure what you’re going to get on race day. 

Thursday was set to be the toughest day of the week, with a 4 hour ride and 15 minute transition run on tap.  In the spirit of being a tri geek, I wore Brian’s Accelerate 3 aero helmet, as that’s what I’ll be wearing on Saturday.  The pictures simply don’t do it justice – it’s seriously rad!

I don’t want to give away too many of coach’s secrets, but suffice to say there were some intense intervals in the ride, evidenced by my average watts being 4.1W/kg for the duration of the ride – a huge PB.  After the disappointment of Sunday’s ride, this was just what I needed – affirmation that all the work we’ve done is paying off.  I headed out for my transition run immediately, mimicking T2.  Running along Ali’i Drive at midday, the aim was to set out at race pace.  Having cemented my nutrition plan over my long rides, I was feeling great and the first mile ticked by in 6:36.  Too fast.  No way am I going out that hard in the race, so I tried to settle down and rein the pace in.  It didn’t quite work, the next mile was 6:25.  I didn’t fret over this too much, but it certainly made me aware that I’ve got to be careful as I come out the gates of T2 during the race.  I’m not here to blow up halfway through the race!  It was another great day and a big confidence boost.

There was an interesting session scheduled for Friday morning – a swim consisting of 15 treading water starts!  I told everyone that this was a session best done on my own, so I set off alone and got the work done.  Treading water starts aren’t really something I’ve meticulously practiced before, so it was good to have the chance to re-enact (as much as possible) the race start.  After 45 minutes in the water some of went across the road to Splasher’s for brekkie.  Later that morning I went out for a fairly easy 2 hour ride, which was pretty comfortable thanks to the cloud cover that had formed.  After an afternoon off my feet, we went out for a great dinner with some other British athletes. 

Saturday’s training was similar to Wednesday’s with an early morning 55 minute run to start the day.  I was out the door at 5:40am and running along the Queen K Highway in the dark.  It was a very quiet and peaceful start to the day and I felt like the only person on the island.  After a short warm up I go into the bulk of the session, which was 25 minutes at threshold pace, holding 5:55/mile.  I felt comfortable throughout and had to hold back and resist the temptation to go faster than planned.  After a quick stretch and a protein bar I walked down to the pier to meet Matt Molloy, who I’d planned to swim the course with.  As a much faster swimmer than me, my plan was to try and stay on his toes, which would require a decent effort!  Thankfully he took it easy on me and I was able to stay with him throughout, although there were a few occasions on the way back where I was starting to tire a little.  With the swim finished, the training for the day was complete.  After a solid morning’s training, we went out for breakfast - there’s a theme emerging here!  It seems that as race day approaches, the trend of an early morning swim followed by going out for breakfast is somehow part of the ritual! 

Today (Sunday) has been my first full day off training since the days following Las Vegas.  After lying in bed as long as I could, I went to the pier to relax and watch the early morning swimmers. 

I’m not really sure where the rest of the day has gone, but I successfully managed to avoid doing much of anything, catching up on reading and watching movies!  With tomorrow being the first day of race week, I’ll be blogging daily from here on in, trying to capture some of the atmosphere that’s building in the town.  You can feel it – it’s already triathlon central and it’s about to get even bigger!